Category Archives: Czars

Van Jones, A National Treasure, To Rejoin Liberal Think Tank

I’m thinking that I may want to reconsider my position on things – it appears that the more radical and revolutionary you are, the more awards, employment opportunities, and face time you get. 

Take for example Van Jones; although he was ousted from the White House for his trutherism, his radical ideological beliefs, namely being a self-professed communist, he is still receiving accolades from the liberal community.  Van Jones will receive the coveted NAACP Image award this year and will also rejoin the Center for American Progress {be wary of that word Progress} a liberal “think” tank. 

Van Jones calls himself an environmentalist, but more so in the sense of social justice; a term that many of us have been schooled in over the last couple of years.  Social justice is just a nicer term used to confuse the masses that calls for the redistribution of wealth because of all the inequalities and unfairness in the world.  Somewhere in life, I found that inequality and unfairness were part of human nature and it was up to an individual to make the most of what they were given and strive for success at every turn.  I believe what I’m getting at is the “pursuit of happiness,” and there is a reason that the word pursuit is in the phrase; happiness isn’t handed to us – we have to earn respect and earn success.

Van Jones on the other hand, believes in the idea of welfare, hand outs and redistribution.  He is a self-avowed communist who believes that nobody should be in jail, in fact they should all have green jobs to rehabilitate themseleves… something I’m more than a little skeptical of.

A little synopsis of what Van Jones is up to and some additional benefits that he is receiving:

In his first interview since stepping down as President Obama’s environmental adviser on Sept. 5, Jones said that a green jobs policy represents the best chance of both aiding poor Americans and bridging the political divide.

“When the food fight is over, there’s one spot of clean common ground in American politics, and that is the need for us to be leading on energy, clean energy, and for us as a country to be more secure with all those jobs,” Jones said Tuesday.

Jones, who has been consulting for companies and nonprofits on environmental issues, will start teaching at Princeton University in June and is rejoining the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank, next month. On Friday, he will receive the NAACP’s President’s Award, for achievement in public service, the organization announced Tuesday.

Not surprising, another liberal ivy league school is also patting Van Jones on the back where he will teach and commute from DC to southern New Jersey.

As another aside, the liberal think tank that Van Jones will be a part of, commonly referred to as CAP, is run by none other than John Podesta and as recently as yesterday, has given its “unbiased” review of the Obama administration favoring unionized companies bidding on federal contracts, stating that it would bring down contracting costs, which is patently false.

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Filed under Big Labor, Corruption, Czars, Double Standards, Establishment, Hypocrisy, Obama Administration, Progressivism, Radicals, Unions

Cass Sunstein Is Certifiable; Absolutism, First Amendment New Deal & More Executive Power

Cass Sunstein is one of the scarier of Obama’s czars and the fact that he was confirmed by the Senate makes it 10x worse!  Sunstein may be a very nice man, but when it comes to ideology, theory, ideas, and his views on the constitution, it makes me want to pull my hair out and scream.  I’m not sure what it is about the world of academia and the absolute detachment from reality that many hold, but it’s time for America to get past the status  of holding ivy league degrees; the superficial, and vote for people with real world experience.  Teachers do live in the real world, but my question would be whether not they have actually worked in a job or a place where they have implemented these ideas first to see if they actually work and help people, not hurt.

Besides, Cass Sunstein’s idea of Internet regulation, whereby a panel or individual of some sort would decide what is inaccurate or false and ban content via their own opinion (more detail on this can be found in his book entitled On Rumors), he has also argued that animals should be able to have a lawyer and sue humans, and guns and hunting should be banned.  There is much more to Cass Sunstein and his regulatory ideas in Nudge, another book penned by the newly approved czar.

More information about Sunstein is slowly but surely beginning to trickle out as time passes.  Cass Sunstein is a proponent of absolutism which really is a sick, twisted theory of “no liberty without dependency”:

You owe your life — and everything else — to the sovereign. The rights of subjects are not natural rights, but merely grants from the sovereign. There is no right even to complain about the actions of the sovereign, except insofar as the sovereign allows the subject to complain. These are the principles of unlimited, arbitrary, and absolute power, the principles of such rulers as Louis XIV. Intellectuals have assiduously promoted them; think of Jean Bodin and Thomas Hobbes.

A new intellectual champion of absolutism has now emerged. Mild-mannered University of Chicago law professor Cass Sunstein has been advancing the radical notion that all rights — including rights usually held to be “against” the state, such as the right to freedom of speech and the right not to be arbitrarily imprisoned or tortured — are grants from the state. In a book co-authored with Stephen Holmes, The Cost of Rights, he argued that “all legal rights are, or aspire to be, welfare rights,” that is, positive grants from the state. There is no difference in kind between the right not to be tortured and the right to taxpayer-subsidized dental care.
In his new book, The Second Bill of Rights, Sunstein seeks to give constitutional status to welfare rights. The title comes from Franklin Roosevelt’s 1944 State of the Union address, in which he proclaimed that “necessitous men are not free men” and proposed a “second Bill of Rights under which a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all.” Among the rights FDR proposed were the rights to “a useful and remunerative job,” “a decent home,” “adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health,” “adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment,” and “a good education.”

To further understand the radical nature of Sunstein’s theories, it’s imperative that we also take a look at his proposed First Amendment New Deal which would act as a new Fairness Doctrine, following the same lines of his Internet regulation ideas.

President Obama’s newly confirmed regulatory czar, Cass Sunstein, drew up a “First Amendment New Deal,” a new “Fairness Doctrine” that would include the establishment of a panel of “nonpartisan experts” to ensure “diversity of view” on the airwaves.

Sunstein compared the need for the government to regulate broadcasting to the moral obligation of the U.S. to impose new rules that outlawed segregation.

Until now, Sunstein’s radical proposal, set forth in his 1993 book “The Partial Constitution,” received no news media attention and scant scrutiny.

In the book – Sunstein outwardly favors and promotes the “fairness doctrine,” the abolished FCC policy that required holders of broadcast licenses to present controversial issues of public importance in a manner the government deemed was “equitable and balanced.”

Sunstein introduces what he terms his “First Amendment New Deal” to regulate broadcasting in the U.S.

It appears that Sunstein and Lloyd are two peas in a pod.  Both of these men believe that commercial broadcasting companies should fund strictly public broadcasting.  He also proposes more “democratic” means of control like “compulsory public-affairs programming, right of reply, content review by nonpartisan experts or guidelines to encourage attention to public issues and diversity of view.”

Believe it or not, that’s not the worst to come out of Sunstein’s mouth or from his pen lately.  Sunstein actually believes that Obama and those working as part of his administration should interpret federal laws, not the federal courts.

“There is no reason to believe that in the face of statutory ambiguity, the meaning of federal law should be settled by the inclinations and predispositions of federal judges. The outcome should instead depend on the commitments and beliefs of the President and those who operate under him,” argued Sunstein.

This statement was the central thesis of Sunstein’s 2006 Yale Law School paper, “Beyond Marbury: The Executive’s Power to Say What the Law Is.” The paper, in which he argues the president and his advisers should be the ones to interpret federal laws.

See why I’m pulling my hair out and screaming? This is sheer insanity and the man still argues that this is all constitutional!

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Filed under Big Brother, Constitution, Czars, Establishment, Fairness Doctrine, FCC, Media, Net Neutrality, Obama Administration, Progressivism, Radicals, Sunstein

FCC Implementing Net Nuetrality Rule (Monday)

Tomorrow, the FCC will make an announcement that it proposes to implement a new net neutrality rule for the Internet. We had been warned previously that rather than a new Fairness Doctrine, other rules/laws would be passed that could potentially affect content of the Internet and over the airwaves. 

Julius Genachowski, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, plans to propose a new so-called net neutrality rule Monday that could prevent telecommunications, cable and wireless companies from blocking Internet applications, according to sources at the agency.

Genachowski will discuss the rules Monday during a keynote speech at The Brookings Institute. He isn’t expected to drill into many details, but the proposal will specifically be for an additional guideline on how operators like AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast can control what goes on their networks. That additional guideline would prevent the operators from discriminating, or act as gatekeepers, of Web content and services.

The guidelines in place today have been criticized by applications developers like Google and public interest groups for not going far enough to clarify what is defined as discriminatory behavior. Comcast is fighting in federal court an FCC ruling that it violated the guidelines by blocking a video application last year. AT&T and Verizon have said existing rules are sufficient, and more regulation is unnecessary. However, they have also said they wouldn’t fight against an additional guideline that focuses on discriminatory behavior.

Julius is not somebody who is non-partisan either.  As any appointees, they have connections to a political party and ideology.  Julius was Obama’s communications and Internet campaign manager during the 2008 election.  As we have discovered with Mark Lloyd and Cass Sunstein, Genachowski is probably no different. 

After reading various comments and arguments for this rule, I can understand how people believe net neutrality would be a good thing.  Most people who are unaware think that more regulation will actually help the consumer, and if that truly is the case, I would be all the more for it.  However, cable, phone, Internet, and wireless companies are some of the most highly regulated companies in the United States, but people still despise them.  Since there is already so much government interference wouldn’t it be safe to say that the government would inevitably make things worse rather than better? 

One issue at play is that enterprises like AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint, etc. use “public” airwaves but they pay billions of dollars in licensing fees for the privilege of using the AIR! The government is already regulating that “air” and the argument has to do with the amount of regulation that already exists. To force mobile carriers to treat all internet traffic the same is ridiculous because this kind of free for all will crash many of the major carriers’ networks! There is a natural free market revolution going on which is allowing these private companies to upgrade their networks to meet the demands of their customers. Government intervention is not the answer. AT&T is responding to anger in NYC and SF by adding tons of capacity to meet the needs of its users before they leave AT&T for another carrier. If the government forces net neutrality on wireless carriers, all iPhone and smart phone users will take all of the bandwidth in order to watch streaming video and music, which sounds fine if you are an iPhone user but think about the downside and unintended consequences. If these major wireless carriers are forced to treat all traffic the same there will be no more unlimited data packages for $35/month. They will start to charge per MB in order to ensure their networks dont crash for all of their users. There were no wireless data networks to speak of 10 years ago and now we have 3G and 4G LTE coming everywhere within the next 18 months. The free market is doing this not a govt mandate, unfortunately, what a lot of people have failed to recognize is the reality and universality of the “law of unintended consequences”.

Which brings to the forefront, the second issue: at face value, net neutrality sounds like a great idea. Unfortunately, nearly everything the government does ultimately warps the motives of companies and individuals in a bad way.  The presumption by most is that the government actually has the ability to “make things better”. In my experience, that is almost never the case.  The slippery slope argument is not fear-mongering, when one merely needs to look back through history to see plenty of laws that were intended for the right purpose, which were used for something incredibly distorted and wrong. The content originally regulated would most likely be something routine and mundane – very basic data, however, it could suddenly change to ideological content.  Mark Lloyd has been talking about diversity on the Internet and over the airwaves, as well as anti-discrimination.  Sunstein, the newly appointed regulation czar feels the same way and would like to regulate the Internet based on any perceived falsehoods – who decides what is false and what is not – there is too much room for political bias. 

If this is implemented officially, I want to hear what those lauding it say after 5 years, and after majorities switch hands to the other party.  I better not hear any outcry from the liberals if Republicans come into power and continue to use net neutrality…

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Filed under Big Brother, Constitution, Czars, Fairness Doctrine, FCC, MSM, Net Neutrality, Obama Administration, Progressivism

Internet Power Grabs and Information Control

There are more power grab attempts taking place right under our collective noses.  The only reason that some of us know about these bills and plans is due to the Internet and the investigative reporting by bloggers and online journalists.

CNET.com recently came across a bill that was drafted by Democrat Senator Jay Rockefeller from West Virginia. This bill is significantly smaller than those that have been getting pummeled down our throats and rushed through congress in the recent months. The bill is only 55 pages long and some of the provisions in this draft make sense, but others raise serious concerns.

The section in question is the one which would give the president complete control of the Internet should a cybersecurity threat or emergency arise.

The new version would allow the president to “declare a cybersecurity emergency” relating to “non-governmental” computer networks and do what’s necessary to respond to the threat. Other sections of the proposal include a federal certification program for “cybersecurity professionals,” and a requirement that certain computer systems and networks in the private sector be managed by people who have been awarded that license.

“I think the redraft, while improved, remains troubling due to its vagueness,” said Larry Clinton, president of the Internet Security Alliance, which counts representatives of Verizon, Verisign, Nortel, and Carnegie Mellon University on its board. “It is unclear what authority Sen. Rockefeller thinks is necessary over the private sector. Unless this is clarified, we cannot properly analyze, let alone support the bill.”

Representatives of other large Internet and telecommunications companies expressed concerns about the bill in a teleconference with Rockefeller’s aides this week, but were not immediately available for interviews on Thursday.

This should raise red flags for everyone on both sides of the aisle. Not only could this be a hindrance on our freedom of speech via the Internet, but this gives the central government complete control of an important information gathering tool that has been predominantly unregulated, and has worked quite well for people of all ages to stay informed no matter what ideological side one may fall on.

If this bill were to pass and ultimately there was an instance where the President deemed it necessary to control the Internet, there is no telling, at what point, the control would stop.  There is also no telling who will have that very same control in the next 4 or 8 years when new presidential elections take place and the pendulum swings.

Who would decide what’s an emergency and what is not?  The current administration and cabinet positions are so heavily politicized, that it wouldn’t surprise me if a crisis was created just to stifle dissent on the Internet.

The government also has various agencies and even private companies that monitor the Internet and Cybersecurity so why would the President need to have that control all by his lonesome?  The answer is he doesn’t need that power and he shouldn’t have it!

The fairness doctrine will not come to pass because too many people in mainstream America know what the bill entails. The new fairness doctrine will come through bills like these being slipped through Congress, the Regulatory czar Cass Sunstein, who believes in controlling the Internet or any other source of information that he deems untrue/disingenuous, or through the FCC Diversity ‘Czar’ Mark Lloyd.

If Mark Lloyd’s Prelude to a Farce and his beliefs about Hugo Chavez’s magnificent revolution, or Cass Sunstein’s book On Rumors, where he wants to regulate the Internet, is not enough to make a person cringe, then Obama’s new plan to harvest information from social networking sites should.

NLPC has uncovered a plan by the White House New Media operation to hire a technology vendor to conduct a massive, secret effort to harvest personal information on millions of Americans from social networking websites.

The information to be captured includes comments, tag lines, emails, audio, and video. The targeted sites include Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, YouTube, Flickr and others – any space where the White House “maintains a presence.”

In the course of investigating procurement by the White House New Media office, NLPC discovered a 51-page solicitation of bids that was filed on Friday, August 21, 2009. Filed as Solicitation # WHO-S-09-0003, it is postedat FedBizzOps.com. Click here to download a 51-page pdf of the solicitation.

So why is the Obama administration so interested in all of this control?  Why is there no outcry from the left?  The Patriot Act looks like child’s play compared to the expansion of government under Obama in only 7 months.

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Filed under Big Brother, Congress, Constitution, Czars, Democrats, Double Standards, Hypocrisy, Obama, Obama Administration, Progressivism

Updated: Sebelius Misspoke, Either Way It’s All Gov. Health Care; Health Care: Semantics and ‘Fear’

UPDATE:

A spokesperson for the administration stated that the media misplayed Sebelius’ statement, but others are stating that she misspoke when she said the government option portion of the bill was not essential.  The backlash this statement caused across the blogosphere and twitter from Obama’s base could be felt far and wide.  Either the administration never intended to change it’s stance or the semantics of the bill, or they flip-flopped. 

Whether we call it a co-op or a public option, it’s all the same.  Let me also add, I find it strange that the administration has stated that the media misplayed all of this…

A second official, Linda Douglass, director of health reform communications for the administration, said that President Obama believed that a public option was the best way to reduce costs and promote competition among insurance companies, that he had not backed away from that belief, and that he still wanted to see a public option in the final bill.

“Nothing has changed.,” she said. “The President has always said that what is essential that health insurance reform lower costs, ensure that there are affordable options for all Americans and increase choice and competition in the health insurance market. He believes that the public option is the best way to achieve these goals.”

A third White House official, via e-mail, said that Sebelius didn’t misspeak. “The media misplayed it,” the third official said.

ORIGINAL:

The White House appears ready to drop the government option in the health care bill.  At least this is what is being reported in many of the newspapers today.  It would be nice if I felt as though I could trust my government or my president, but as we have seen thus far, even over the last couple of years, no matter what side you are on, that’s not the case.  I am  incredibly skeptical of what the government is waving around in one hand, but doing behind the scenes in the other.

If President Obama dumped the government option from the bill what would be the point?  This is something that the progressives in this country, including himself, and almost everyone in his cabinet are proponents of, at the very least.  The government option didn’t even seem to cut the cake for some, who technically see a single-payer plan for everybody in America, as evidenced through various speeches that officials have given over the last decade. 

People on the right need to be wary and not believe we have ‘reached’ some type of victory in this debate.  It doesn’t make much sense to me that they would be willing to just dump a major liberal policy, one that their base has desperately wanted for a very long time.  That’s why when you read further into what they are saying, it’s just a change of semantics, which is typical from this administration.  Remember how the health care reform bill was changed from just that, to health insurance reform?  When liberals are losing the debate on one issue they change the name to make the policy sound less intimidating and brand new. This truly is Houdini as president. 

Obama has been pressing for the government to run a health insurance organization to help cover the nation’s almost 50 million uninsured, but Republicans remain steadfast in arguing against it.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said that government alternative to private health insurance is “not the essential element” of the administration’s health care overhaul. The White House would be open to co-ops, she said, a sign that Democrats want a compromise so they can declare a victory on the showdown.

“I think there will be a competitor to private insurers,” Sebelius said. “That’s really the essential part, is you don’t turn over the whole new marketplace to private insurance companies and trust them to do the right thing.”

Obama’s top spokesman refused to say a public option was a make-or-break choice for the administration.

[…]

“It’s not government-run and government-controlled,” he said. “It’s membership-run and membership-controlled. But it does provide a nonprofit competitor for the for-profit insurance companies, and that’s why it has appeal on both sides.”

As proposed by Conrad, the co-ops would receive federal startup money, but then would operate independently of the government. They would have to maintain the same financial reserves that private companies are required to keep to handle unexpectedly high claims.

The new term being launched by the administration is a Co-op, not a government run health system.

So what exactly is a co-op?  I wanted to look up the historical meaning of the term and what political system it stems from.  Without any shock and surprise it arose from the Democratic socialist party and also split off during the Marxist era in Russia.  Co-ops are socialist programs whereby there are certain types of co-ops that exist.  The technical definition of a co-op is an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly-owned and democratically-controlled enterprise.

The rise of Marxism at the end of the 19th century accelerated the political split between different forms of socialism: anarchists were committed to libertarian socialism and advocated locally managed cooperatives, linked through confederations of unions, cooperatives and communities; Marxists were committed to state socialism, and the goal of political hegemony through the state, either through democratic socialism, or through what came to be know as Leninism.  Both Marxism and anarchism sprang from utopian socialism, which is based on voluntary cooperation, without the emphasis on bitter class struggle. With the collapse of state socialism in the USSR, other forms of socialism have reasserted their importance and influence.

Social cooperation or co-ops is another term to reach a type of social Utopia as a utilitarian belief for the good of all.  This particular co-op would be considered a Type A Social Co-op because it has a particular social purpose to provide health insurance for individuals, working in cooperation with the government, insurance companies, and the people. 

The Cato Institute also provided more information on what a co-op is, and in this case, what our government intends to do in a brief write-up that it made today:

It is suggested that the “co-ops” would be nonprofits, and therefore would offer better service and lower costs. But many insurance companies, including “mutual” insurers and many “Blues,” are already nonprofit companies. Furthermore, states already have the power to charter co-ops, including health insurance co-ops. In fact, health care co-ops already exist. Health Partners, Inc. in Minneapolis has 660,000 members and provides health care, health insurance, and HMO coverage. The Group Health Cooperative in Seattle provides health coverage for 10 percent of Washington State residents.

If the new co-ops operate under the same rules as other nonprofit insurers, why bother?

And there’s the rub. Supporters of government-run health care have no intention of letting the co-ops be independent enterprises. In fact, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) makes it clear, for example, that the co-op’s officers and directors would be appointed by the president and Congress. He insists that there be a single national co-op. And Congress would set the rules under which it operates.  As Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) says, “It’s got to be written in a way that accomplishes the objectives of a public option.”

If a “co-op” is run by the federal government under rules imposed by the federal government with funding provided by the federal government, that is government-run health insurance by another name.

Historically speaking, the term co-op originated in England so I was therefore, curious, since England is in fact a democratic socialist country, what exactly would be an example of a co-op?  Well, low and behold, the NHS, or their government-run health system, is in fact utilizing co-op values within NHS

I don’t have much faith in NHS although there was a massive twitter campaign called #weloveNHS to interject on behalf of the US political debate.  The campaign itself was started by the man who created the character, Father Ted.  This campaign  consisted of a lot of spam, repeating the same exact mantra – I was surprised any real individuals for NHS actually existed, but found about 5 who did.  It’s hard to believe that their opinions aren’t biased when many work for NHS since they have now become one of, if not the, largest employer of the UK.  I find it amusing that recent economic reports, including this one from the National Center for Policy Analysis has stated that NHS is putting the patient last or the recent statistics that show nearly 46% of women diagnosed with breast cancer die in the UK as opposed to only a 25% death rate in the US.  Mammograms are required and insurance companies here cover them 1/year, where the government in the UK, who holds the purse strings, only allow mammograms 1/2 years.

It is incredibly disingenuous for a President in an op-ed of the NYT, no less, to write that people are using fear to politicize and change the debate on health reform.  There is plenty of fear when the government involves itself in the lives of individuals.  Nowhere in our constitution is health care a right, in 1776 and not until the 20th century, was health care an option. It has only been through the capitalist structure of our society that pharmaceuticals and operating procedures have thrived and been on the cutting edge.  Incentivized systems, such as our own, have driven innovation for years, it would be a disaster if all of that was taken away to pay for the supposed 46M who do not currently have health care.  Those 46M by the way, have never been explained to the American public.  The number of illegal aliens included in that number are nearly half, there are those who can also afford health care but elect to pay for it out of pocket because they can, children are also included in that number, and no, they do not have their own health care because their parents cover them, and we also have those who qualify for federal programs but refuse to use them.

I tend to find fear emanating from both sides of the debate, but given my skepticism of government and the convoluted legalese within the bill, I err on the side of caution.  The fear-mongering of the left is making it appear that a crisis will ensue if we do not pass this bill NOW.  If  85% of people like their insurance and over 50% do not want government interference what does this tell us?

Obama warned of us “not acting;” well some may beg to differ on that sentiment and actually feel that doing nothing would be better than rushing a bill that most representatives haven’t even read all the way through.  Mr. Obama also chose to use his op-ed pulpit to bash those evil insurance companies again.  I am finding it funny, yet at the same time very frustrating, hearing the same insurance company demonization, but no mention of trial lawyers, tort reform, or the fact that Obama just made a back-door deal with those very same insurance entities. 

Obama has also been espousing plenty of lies and other scare tactics.  The hypocrisy from the left during these current debates is laughable.  Obama continues the mantra that doctors are cutting out tonsils for money, amputating feet, and now he is using Otto Raddatz as an example.  First and foremost, let me bring up tonsils – I get tonsillitis nearly 5-7 times/year and I will be 28 years old soon, but none of the doctors I have had, either in Connecticut, Virginia, or Maryland, have let me get surgery; why? because I do not have tonsils that swell across my throat and therefore, are not life-threatening.  In fact, the greatest threat is surgery, as you get older, every surgery becomes tougher to recover from.  Obama’s big lie in all of this is his story surrounding Otto Raddatz, the man cited as having died in the midst of chemotherapy due to gall stones that were not disclosed to his insurance company, however, here is what really happened:

In President Obama’s recent speeches and in his editorial in the New York Times today, he has continued to mention the sad case of a man who lost his health coverage during life saving chemotherapy and consequently died because he did not disclose a previous condition of gall stones.  Quoting his editorial in the New York Times, “A man lost his health coverage in the middle of chemotherapy because the insurance discovered that he had gall stones, which he hadn’t known about when he applied for his policy. Because his treatment was delayed, he died.”

Unfortunately for the president, the story is not true. The man received his life saving operation and lived an additional three years. The man in question is Otto Raddatz, an Illinois businessman. He became a central focus in a hearing on June 16th entitled “Terminations of Individual Health Policies by Insurance Companies” held by the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations in the Energy and Commerce committee. His sister, Peggy Radditz, testified on his behalf. She testified that the insurance company Fortis dropped his coverage right before a life saving stem cell transplant because he failed to notify the company of pre-existing gallstones and an aneurysm.  Soon after, he was mentioned all over the left blogosphere as having perished because he did not receive this treatment.

For instance a blogger on Slate states“Otto Raddatz, a restaurant owner in Illinois, was rescinded in 2004 by FortisInsurance Co. after he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Fortis said this was because Raddatz had failed to disclose that a CT scan four years earlier had revealed that he had an aneurysm and gall stones. Raddatz replied—and his doctor confirmed—that he had never been told about these conditions (the doctor said they were “very minor” and didn’t require treatment), but Fortis nonetheless refused a payout until the state attorney general intervened. The delay in treatment eliminated Raddatz’s chances of recovery, and he died.”

The president was quick to pick up this meme and it has become part of his healthcare reform stump speech and at his town halls. The only problem with his narrative is that Otto Raddatz received his treatment and lived another 3 years. According to the meeting transcripts found here.

[…]starting on page 4, “… Otto Raddatzwas a 59-year-old restaurant owner from Illinois who was diagnosed withan aggressive form of non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, a cancer of the immune system. He underwent intensive chemotherapy and was told that he had to have a stem cell transplant in order to survive. With coverage provided by his individual insurance policy, he was scheduled to have the procedure performed. But then his insurance company suddenly told him it was going to cancel his insurance coverage. Otto could not pay for the transplant without healthinsurance.  The stem cell transplant surgery was cancelled.  The insurance company told him that it found when he applied for his insurance, he had not told the company about a test that had shown that he might have gall stones and an aneurysm, or weakness of the blood vessel wall. In fact, Otto’s doctor had never told him about these test results. He didn’t have any symptoms, and these conditions did not have anything to do with his cancer, but the insurance company was going to rescind his policy, effectively tearing up the contract as if it never happened and it would not pay for his stem cell transplant. Otto made a desperate plea to the Illinois Attorney General’sOffice seeking help to get his insurance company to reverse its decision.  He told them, and I quote, “I was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. It is a matter of extreme urgency that I receive my transplant in 3 weeks. This is an urgent matter. Please help me so I can have my transplant scheduled.  Any delay could threaten my life.”

The Illinois Attorney General’s Office launched an investigation, confirmed that Otto’s doctor had never even told him about the test findings and sent two letters to press the insurance company to reinstate his policy. The company relented and Otto received his stem cell transplant. He was able to live 3 more years before passing away earlier this year.”

Now certainly the insurance company looks bad in this instance and should not have rescinded the policy, but the doctor looks even worse since Otto was left in the dark. But why does our President need to embellish and outright lie to try to bolster his case. His arguments should stand on their own merit.

I find the accusation of scare tactics and fear-mongering offensive.  Take for example Sarah Palin’s statement that the end-of-life counseling and p. 354 section 1177 of the bill would ensure that bureaucrats would decide the futures of the elderly and that of her disabled child, equating them to death panels, was a lie and a right-wing tactic.  But I ask, then, why did the House Financial Services Committee take that section out of the bill last week, if it wasn’t in fact true or at least vague enough to be used as such? 

Lies exist on both sides, some perpetrated on purpose and others because of confusion, misinformation, and convoluted legalese. It’s important to understand the current game in DC.  It is a game and a competition “to the victor goes the spoils”, or as Obama likes to say “I won.” It’s silly to take one person’s word over another when politics as usual are a dirty, dirty game.

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Filed under Congress, Constitution, Czars, DeathCare, Double Standards, Health Care, Hypocrisy, Obama, Obama Administration, ObamaCare, Op-ed, Progressivism, Sarah Palin, Tea Party